Monsieur Chevalier & Co share the bill with the Bootleg Beatles at Lingfield
(pictured: Soviet Suspect ridden by Rebecca Wilman)
The third in the series of ‘ARC RoR Awareness Days’ takes place at Lingfield Park this Saturday at the Surrey course’s evening fixture. Among the five former racehorses parading in the paddock will be Group winning sprinter Monsieur Chevalier, who is now enjoying his second career going hunting and hacking.
On what will undoubtedly be a busy night at Lingfield Park, with post racing entertainment courtesy of the Bootleg Beatles, racegoers are encouraged to arrive in good time, which will also enable them to see the former racehorses on show at 4.50pm, 50 mins before the first race.
This summer Arena Racing Company (ARC) has joined forces with British racing’s official charity for the welfare of retired racehorses, Retraining of Racehorses (RoR), to stage a series of awareness days across courses in the ARC group. Lingfield Park on Saturday is the third in the series of nine, other forthcoming fixtures include St Leger Legends Day at Doncaster.
In terms of success enjoyed on the track, Monsieur Chevalier heads the cast of five horses set to appear at Lingfield. In the care of Richard Hannon Snr, Monsieur Chevalier was a class act winning competitive sprints such as the Group 3 Molecomb Stakes at Goodwood and the Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury. He now enjoys life at a different speed, behaving impeccably out hunting and hacking. Two years ago, Danielle Graham was gifted Monsieur Chevalier and she says of him: “He is the most genuine horse I have ever come across. Nothing phases him and he is regularly ridden by children.”
He is joined on Saturday by Carmen’s Concerto, Cold Blow Den, Jimmy Bond and Soviet Suspect; four horses of varying ability on the track, all of whom have found their niche outside of racing, showcasing their versatility in a range of other equine disciplines. More details of their exploits are reproduced below.
The ‘ARC RoR Awareness Days’ feature parades by former racehorses who have been retrained and are enjoying a fulfilling second career in another equine discipline. The aim is to increases awareness among racegoers of the versatility of racehorses and the increasingly wide range of options available to them when their racing careers are over.
The events are supported by the Peter O’Sullevan Trust, who are valued sponsors of RoR. Commentary and background about the horses will be provided while they are parading and further information about RoR will be relayed to the public via videos and the racecard, with on-course donations also accepted.
About the five former racehorses who will parade at Lingfield Park:
Carmen’s Concerto (Dressage) – Ridden by Jo Sellars – Waymark
9-year-old mare by Singspiel, formerly trained by Andrew Balding
Carmen’s Concerto ran four times on the Flat, retiring from the track in 2012. She has been retrained for dressage, going from Intro level last year to doing Novice tests this year. She has won or been placed at the RoR South East Regional Championships for the last three years. This year she and Jo have qualified for the Goffs UK RoR National Championships at Aintree in August and having finished 2nd in the Regional League for the South East they have high hopes for a successful trip to Aintree.
Cold Blow Den (Eventing) – Ridden by Lauren Faggetter
9-year-old gelding by Piccolo, formerly trained by Jim Boyle
Cold Blow Den ran just twice on the Flat in 2011 prior to his retirement and has been retraining with Lauren Faggetter now for almost four years. He has developed into a tremendously versatile Riding Club horse, qualifying for the National Hunter Trial Championships each year, including in his first year retraining. He jumped clear at each Championship and has been placed every time out. Last year Cold Blow Den won highest placed RoR horse in the 80cm class and the pairs, and was runner up in the 90cm class . He has also been placed at the British Riding Clubs, London & South East Show Jumping Championships.
Jimmy Bond (Eventing) – Ridden by Georgina Browne
19-year-old gelding by Primitive Rising, formerly trained by Kate Walton
Jimmy Bond ran 35 times under National Hunt rules winning six races before, in 2010, being given by his owner Peter Chapman to Georgina Brown. Together, Georgina and Jimmy have competed in British Eventing, British Showjumping and they still compete in British Dressage. They are currently aiming at the British Dressage Novice Regional Finals at Hickstead in July with a view to the moving up to Elementary level.
Georgina describes Jimmy as her “horse of a life time”, going to say: “We have experienced so much, from Arena eventing at Hickstead to being part of a team of NHS Physios doing the South Downs way for charity, RoR Showing and eventing. Jimmy embodies everything that make thoroughbreds the most beautiful, graceful and loyal creatures that they are and I am very blessed to have this fantastic horse in my life.”
Monsieur Chevalier (Hunting) – Ridden by Danielle Graham
11-year-old gelding by Chevalier, formerly trained by Nikki Evans
On the track Monsieur Chevalier’s successes included a Group 3, two Listed races and the Weatherbys Super Sprint. In all he won 14 races during a 67 race career that started in the care of Richard Hannon Snr, netting earnings of over £350,000 in prize money.
Two years ago, Danielle Graham was gifted Monsieur Chevalier (Monty) and she says of him: “He is the most genuine horse I have ever come across. Nothing phases him and he is regularly ridden by children”. Monty made his hunting debut in 2017, behaving impeccably, and regularly hacks around the countryside. The pair plan to continue hunting locally with the Old Surrey and Burstow, as well as taking part in some local shows.
Soviet Suspect (Showjumping) – Ridden by Rebecca Wilman
10-year-old gelding by Ivan Denisovich, formerly trained by Amy Weaver
Soviet Suspect ran three times on the Flat but unfortunately never finished in front of another horse. Being just over 15hh, he was nicknamed Tiny as he was the smallest racehorse with trainer Amy Weaver. As a four-year-old, Tiny was turned away and bought by Rebecca Wilman to be retrained. Since then, he has become a fantastic all-rounder, enjoying success doing pony club, schools activities, riding club and team chasing.
Highlights include twice being placed at the National Riding Club Three Day Eventing Championships and being crowned 90cm Showjumping Champion at the RoR National Championships at Aintree in 2016 and the following year 1 metre Showjumping Champion. The pair have also competed at Royal Windsor in the Services Team Showjumping in 2016 and the National Hunter Trial Championships in 2017, coming 2nd overall in the 90cm class and in the Pairs finishing highest placed RoR pair, together with Lauren and Cold Blow Den (who are also parading today).